Office of Community Services: JOLI and CED Programs

Job Opportunities Learning Initiative (JOLI) and Community Economic Development (CED) Program

The Office of Community Services, housed at the Department of Health and Human Services, operates two programs that provide direct support for community development corporations.

The Community Economic Development discretionary grant program supports projects that promote economic self-sufficiency for low-income persons and distressed communities by awarding funds to community development corporations (CDCs) to create employment and business development opportunities. Each year approximately 40-45 grants are awarded with a maximum grant award level of $700,000. Grants are awarded to cover project costs for business start-up or expansion and the development of new products and services. The grants aim to leverage private and public dollars; for every federal dollar awarded, $3-5 is leveraged. Appropriate projects include business incubators, shopping centers, manufacturing businesses, and agriculture initiatives. In FY 2010, the program received a $36-million allocation.

The Job Opportunities for Low-Income Individuals (JOLI) is a related program designed to create new jobs that are intended to employ low-income persons whose income levels are below the poverty line. The program had a $5.28 million annual appropriation in FY 2010. JOLI awards approximately ten grants per year to nonprofit organizations. The grantees create jobs by encouraging business plans for new enterprises and by providing technical and financial assistance to private employers. The maximum grant amount is $500,000.

JOLI requires that at least 20 percent of the grant be paid directly to low-income employees. Payments may take the form of loans or direct cash payments to the enterprise or business owner. To date, the program has made grants to organizations in 24 states. The primary focus of the money has been developing micro-enterprises and "green" business. A list of prior grants is available on the web. Similar to other federal programs, several states have their own versions of JOLI, which can supplement federal money.